Shop Local winners announced

Using local independent retailers to buy this year's Christmas presents has paid off for four lucky shoppers, who have each won �1,000.

The Mercury's Shop Local for Christmas initiative came to an end this week, which received hundreds of entries from across Norfolk.

And the winners from Attleborough, Diss, Harleston, and Wymondham, were given the news just before Christmas that their names had been drawn out of the hat to win the �1,000.

All winners spent at least �100 each in participating Shop Local stores over the last 10 weeks to enter the prize draw.

The winner from Attleborough was Marie Youngs, 22, who said she had discovered some new stores in the town, thanks to the scheme and aims to continue shopping locally in future.

The mum of two-year-old daughter Zoe, of Halford Place, said she was 'over the moon' to hear she was a winner and would be putting the money towards redecorating her home.

'I did all my Christmas shopping in Attleborough this year, but I'm quite good at using local shops anyway because I don't have a car,' she said.

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Jo Myers, 45, of Factory Lane, Diss, who moved to the town earlier this year and did all her Christmas shopping in Diss, said it was 'fabulous' to win the �1,000.

'I certainly would have done a lot of it locally, but the campaign made me think more local. There were a few examples where I chose one shop over another because it had the Shop Local sticker in the window,' she said.

Mrs Myers added that the retail offer in Diss was much better than Watton where she used to live.

'I love the shops in Watton, but they are all small independent shops and the there is a limited range. It is nice to get a bit more non everyday stuff from Diss,' she said.

Mike and Madeline Withinshaw, of Station Road, Harleston, did all of their Christmas shopping in the market town this year and did not go to Norwich once.

'It is a lovely little town and we always try the local shops first. Harleston has everything you need. It may not have everything you want, but it certainly has everything you need.'

'I know the independent shops can't match the supermarkets on price, but can beat them on quality and we should try to support them as much as possible,' he said.

Shop Local winner Nicola Maunders, of Park Lane, Wymondham, said she will be putting the cash towards a new kitchen. The 46-year-old said she was 'absolutely delighted' that her name had been selected in the draw.

'I think it was such a good idea to have this campaign. Me and my husband try to buy locally and anything to encourage people to keep the town centres thriving on is a good thing. It certainly wasn't difficult for us to use those shops and pick up the stickers on the cards. We were half way through a second one,' she said.